Cablegate: Us-Argentine Bilateral Relations; Argentina's Decision Not
DE RUEHBU #1848/01 2291830
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171830Z AUG 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5592
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001848
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: US-ARGENTINE BILATERAL RELATIONS; ARGENTINA'S DECISION NOT
TO SEND TROOPS TO THE ISRAEI-LEBANESE BORDER; TRI-BORDER; 08/17/06;
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's leading stories include yesterday's Assistant Secretary
Shannon's digital video conference with Argentine journalists on
Cuba and U.S.-Argentine relations; the U.S. denial that it was
pressuring Argentina to send troops to the Israeli-Lebanese border
and an assessment that drug trafficking surpasses terrorism as a
concern in the Triple Border area.
2. OPINION PIECES AND KEY STORIES
- "The US sees a 'transfer of power in slow motion' in Cuba"
Publishing the article headline as the "Quote of the Day" on its
front page, leading "Clarin," writes (08/17) "This is a key moment,
as much for Cuba as for all the Americas and it would be a serious
error to give more oxygen to a regime that is outside of the
Inter-American framework. That's the characterization given by the
assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs, Thomas Shannon,
in a video conference with the Argentina media.
"The bureaucrat confirmed that the government of George W. Bush does
not encourage a military approach to the island. We totally reject
that. Only the Cuban people can determine its democratic
"...[he] maintained that his government's policy is to promote in
Cuba democratic transition, free markets and regional integration
into markets, in its various forms...We want a Cuba with access to
the IDB, to all the institutions of the Americas.
"Shannon asserted to the Argentine press yesterday that Cuba should
reinsert itself into democracy, with free elections, respect for
human rights and more transparency. This is not a bilateral matter
between the U.S. and Cuba; but for all the Americas and Cuba.
"With respect to Castro's recovery and the photos shown with Chavez,
Shannon said information 'is controlled, it is something opaque, we
don't really know the future, it isn't clear...
"And on the relationship with Argentina, Shannon confirmed that it
is productive and fluid, with excellent communication."
- "Shannon, War and Democracy"
Santiago O'Donnell, columnist of leftist "Pagina/12," writes (08/17)
"That is how the new media strategy of the State Department began to
be unveiled, which is no other than the old carrot and stick
formula: sticks for Cuba, carrots for the rest of the region,
including now for Venezuela and Hugo Chavez...Venezuela could play
an important role in Cuba4s transition, and, all in all, Venezuela
is the U.S.' most important partner. Venezuela has a commercial
surplus with our country.'
"Everything was roses for the countries of the region without the
name Cuba. When asked about the possibility of lifting the embargo
on the island, Shannon became serious. It depends on what happens,
he said in a serious tone. Then he named a long list of demands:
release of political prisoners, free elections, non-governmental
organizations, full reign for human rights. Everything indicates
that unless Cuba becomes Switzerland overnight, the U.S. will
continue boycotting it.
"It's true: Posada Carriles is under arrest. Not for being a
terrorist, but for entering illegally into the U.S.
"But it's not easy to promote a war on terror and multiparty
democracy, all at the same time.
"That's why, I believe, the U.S. launched its diplomatic offensive
to again isolate Cuba and promote regime change. We were there to
register the event."
- "U.S. Argentine relations are very good"
Jorge Elias, columnist for daily-of-record "La Nacion," starts his
article, (08/17) "Pure praise for the relationship with
Argentina...the State Department's top official for Latin America,
Thomas Shannon, did not challenge the increasingly frequent
criticisms of Nestor Kirchner against George W. Bush, nor his
increasingly frequent defense of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales.
"'...our relationship continues to be productive and fluid' and 'in
the following weeks, months and years there will be opportunities to
deepen it,' that 'there are a series of shared interests and values
that act as a stabilizer' and that 'cooperation on counterterrorism
has been excellent.'
"It is a key moment in Cuba's history, but also for the Americas --
he said -- we are seeing a transfer of power in slow motion.
"With an eye on Washington and another on Florida, the Commission
for Assistance to a Free Cuba, led by the U.S. Commerce Secretary,
Carlos Gutierrez, of Cuban origin, proposed 80 million dollars of
assistance to the opposition of the island, to support transition.
The initiative was well received by the Bush government. Without
mentioning that, Shannon said 'our policy continues to be the same:
promoting democratic transition.
"Venezuela... could play an important role in the democratic
"Several years ago, President Bush said if Cuba released its
political prisoners, permitted fundamental democratic rights... and
held free elections, he was disposed to speak to Congress about
lifting the embargo. Fidel Castro rejected the offer.
"At the end of the day, Mercosur issues belong to Mercosur.
"We totally reject a military solution. Democratic transition is
something that only the Cuban people can decide.
- Business-financial Ambito Financiero also covered the DVC under
headline "Latin America should help the political transition in
- "The Triple Border, More Myth than Real Terrorists"
Daniel Gallo, columnist of daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes
(08/17) "For those people with deep knowledge of the area, there is
more myth than reality in this triangle formed by Iguazu, Foz de
Iguazu and Ciudad del Este.
"'No one has ever confirmed a firm, concrete piece of information on
terrorist activities in the Tri-Border region: neither through the
judiciary nor any other form. There hasn't even been a legal suit
against terrorism on those locations,' reported a person with deep
knowledge on every corner of the three cities. 'What happens there
has more to do with drug trafficking than anything else,' he added.
"If it is common to affirm that the U.S. pressures to increase
security at the Triple Border, what is certain is that the
Department of State's own official reports don't give the zone major
"The annual report on terrorism.. [has] a separate section on the
Triple Border.. but the document published last April 28 states that
'information on the operations of extremist Islamic groups could not
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